Humboldt State senior Rob Lewis drives the ball up the court during the first half of the Jacks' game against Pacific Union at Lumberjack Arena on Nov. 16. | Photo by Thomas Lal

Jacks Beat Pioneers In Final Non-Conference Tune-Up

Humboldt State's persistent offense pushes its preseason to an encouraging 4-1 record

Humboldt State’s persistent offense pushes its preseason to a 4-1 record

After gaining a home win in a 91-85 game over the Antelope Valley Pioneers on Nov. 13, the Jacks turned their attention to a different Pioneers team in their final non-conference, tune-up game.

Humboldt State played against the Pacific Union College’s Pioneers on Saturday night in front of a packed Lumberjack Arena crowd.

Offense has not been a problem for the HSU men’s basketball team in the few games they have played this season. In the four games prior to Saturday’s match, the Jacks’ lowest scored points in a game was 89, which came in two separate games against Southern Oregon and Fresno Pacific.

The game against Pacific Union was no different as the Jacks’ offense fired on all cylinders. Five different scorers reached double-digit point totals for the Jacks. Despite Pacific Union tying the game twice in the second half, the Jacks never relinquished the lead and beat the Pacific Union Pioneers 86-80.

Less than a minute later, Lewis hit a deep three right at the halftime buzzer giving the Jacks the 44-34 lead.

Two successful shots from seniors Rob Lewis and Zachariah Christian had the Jacks out to an early 4-0 lead. The defense started strong by preventing the Pioneers from scoring in the first four minutes of the half.

The Jacks eventually found an 11-2 run, but a few turnovers and missed shots allowed the Pioneers to close the deficit to 13-8 just before the first media timeout. The Jacks widened the lead to 11 points a bit later on in the half.

Freshman Isaiah Pope splashed three-pointers on back-to-back possessions and brought the Lumberjack Arena crowd to a roar.

Less than a minute later, Lewis hit a deep three right at the halftime buzzer giving the Jacks the 44-34 lead.

The second half was more of a test for Humboldt State. The Jacks’ shots weren’t falling like they were in the first half as their shot from the field dropped from 50 percent to 40 percent.

Humboldt State senior Leland Green jumps past Pacific Union’s defense during the Jacks’ game at Lumberjack Arena on Nov. 16. | Photo by Thomas Lal

Despite the drop in production from the offense, the Jacks used the free-throw line to their advantage to close out the game, going 15-20 from the charity stripe. With three minutes left, Pioneers’ senior Marc Williams hit a three to tie it up at 73-73. The ensuing Jacks’ possession resulted in senior Leland Green drawing the foul and sinking two free throws. The Jacks pulled away with the victory.

The Jacks gained contributions on offense from several different players. Senior Leland Green led the team with 17 points, Lewis had 14 and sophomore Amari Green had 12. Christian lead the team with nine rebounds.

Despite the win and the offensive production, Head Coach Steve Kinder stressed the need to work on defense heading into conference play.

“Pacific Union did a great job on sharing the ball, penetrating and kicking to open shooters,” Kinder said. “We had a difficult time keeping guys ahead of us.”

After the game, Jacks’ center Arash Poorsina also stressed the need to work on defense, but he touted the chemistry that the team has built up with each other early in the season.

“The good thing about this team is that no one really loses faith in one another,” Poorsina said. “We all know our skill set, we all know the things that we can do.”

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